A movement has been started to design and build another wall for Vietnam veterans. Not for those who died during the war. No, this memorial would be for those who killed themselves after the war.
Even the Government agrees that at least 20,000 Vietnam vets have committed suicide since the end of the War. We know that every statistic the Government gave us over the years the War was active was a lie, so I suspect this number is too low.
Most of the organizations looking at this problem deal in higher numbers, figures that range from 50,000 to 200,000 suicides.
I can accept the Government figures. 20,000 suicides is enough for me to recognize that the American people and the American government have not, do not and will not treat the veterans with the care and respect they deserve.
Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are killing themselves at disturbingly high rates and still there is no truly serious and comprehensive program to serve these vets. Oh, there are concerns, there is talk, but only a smidgen of commitment.
Now, we have this report:
"America's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate...A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking compensation for injuries they say are service related. That is more than double the estimated 21 per cent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials said.
"These new veterans are claiming eight or nine ailments on average, and the most recent over the last year are claiming 11 to 14....
"These new veterans are seeking a level of help the government did not anticipate, and for which there is no special fund available."
On Wendell Berry's current book and film
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